Strategies for customer centered selling success
HARDISON’S TIPS – SEPTEMBER 8, 2020
Do You Know How a Guest Remembers You?
I was speaking with a few sales consultants before my training class started this week. We talked about their holiday, family, sports, etc. It’s always good to see people that you have trained over the years, still enjoying the art of selling. Then my conversational questions got to appointments, follow up, networking, CRM and keeping the lifeline full with repeat and referral opportunities.
One of the sales consultants who I initially trained four (4) years ago and had seniority over the other two (2) sales consultants said. “You know, you always say that and there might be something to it but I just feel that marketing and advertising should be left up to my boss. I am not a marketing or advertising guy and I find it to be involved.” I thanked him for his honesty and asked if the others felt the same way? The answer in so many words was “Yes”. Wow! If many sales consultants who engage with guests, clients and customers feel the same way then it must be time for another lesson because I grantee you your engagements are giving off the same negative, not sure and self doubt vibes. Let’s remind or introduce something to you. And that is in sales YOU are your best form of marketing and advertising. Here is a closer look:
John Medina, in his book Brain Rules, asks two important marketing questions in his chapter “Long Term Memory”:
How often must you repeat the message before people buy a product?
What determines whether they still remember it six months later, or a year later?
After years of research and studies, after dissecting the brain and how it remembers, Medina’s unsettling finding is “…we have no idea.”
I imagine that if you have millions of dollars lying around in your advertising budget, you can do a little branding like Budweiser or Coke or Starbucks. But my guess is that if you’re reading this, you don’t.
An easier question to answer is what if you do have millions to throw at advertising, you can get people to remember, yet they still don’t buy? (Think Detroit, Wall Street, and Circuit City.) This question at least has some answers. People don’t like the product, don’t have the money for the product, don’t have the confidence to buy, or they have better choices.
I mentioned in a previous newsletter that we’re lucky to be in sales during a recession. An editor from Fortune magazine was on an MSNBC business show last week talking about Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for. He pointed out that despite the thousands of people being laid off, “You have to keep in mind that 73% of companies are still hiring.” And one of the areas where companies are heavily recruiting, he said, is in sales.
But let’s take a stab and see if we can find any answers for Medina’s two questions.
Second Question First
How do you get people to remember you six months or a year later? Advertisers have an answer, but not the answer: pictures and repetition. Pictures, Medina and other researchers have found, are the best way to get people to remember. Pictures, indeed, are worth a thousand words. Plus, pictures appeal to the emotions – the trigger that gets people to remember.
I learned about pictures and repetition over 30 years ago. I was in a meeting with a New York advertising firm whose people said the same thing. I would also add a third factor: the sales consultant. “You are the message”, correctly states the title of Roger Ailes’ book.
How often do you repeat the message before people buy? Short answer: no one knows. But I’m sure a lot has to do with your sales and marketing skills, how qualified your guest, client or customer is, and if what you sell is an “impulse” buy or something that takes weeks, months, or years to close.
How often do you repeat the message? To answer this, you need to answer the question “what’s the purpose of this specific advertising or marketing piece?” For example, if you send direct mail, what’s the purpose of the postcard, flyer, or brochure? To build branding? To create top-of-mind awareness? To get people to remember you when they’re ready to buy? And will you have to send your mailing repeatedly to the same list of names?
Or is your marketing piece to present the service or product and get a decision now? Some pieces can be designed to create an impulse purchase and won’t need repeated mailings. Such a direct mail piece will get the recipient to keep the flyer on the top of her desk until he/she either acts on it, or she misses the cut-off date and eventually throws it away.
With impulse designed marketing pieces, people have to remember your mailing for only a short period of time. Based upon my professional experience and millions of brochures over the years that I have sent out, if you’re going to do a presentation weather it’s for a big company or an individual in a major market or a smaller market on a specific date, the date creates an impulse to act now. The guest, client or prospect is forced to make a decision: sign-up or toss the brochure. Any time your marketing piece puts a deadline to act (Barnes & Noble sends me one for an additional 15% off, if I make a purchase by their cut-off date), you create an impulse buy. Repetitive mailings would be nice, but aren’t necessary if you can’t afford them.
Be a Lightning Rod
When you ask yourself, “Am I doing the right thing?” add, “I don’t know. Let’s try it and see what happens.” Once you know your goal, take the knowledge and experience that you have and act on it. Keep working, changing, and adapting until something happens. Who knows? What you’re looking for may appear like a bolt from out of the blue.
Good example: fashion designers Jason Wu (Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown) and Isabel Toledo (lemongrass outfit) were surprised to become internationally famous overnight. They learned at the same time as television viewers what the First Lady would be wearing on Inauguration Day. Wu and Toledo didn’t become sensations because they suddenly became good designers. They were already good. But only a very few people knew about them. They kept working, designing, and doing what they knew and liked best. Then lightning struck.
In sales, our job is to be the lightning rod. To stay out there in the good and bad times, to make sure others know how we can help them, make it easy to be found, and to do whatever it takes to attract the electricity.
Will this always work? I don’t know. But it doesn’t hurt. Besides, you’ve got to do something.
Make It A Champion Day!
“SALES TRAINING MATTERS”